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“Amazing House reef !”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Denmark
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Amazing House reef !”
Reviewed January 28, 2013

We stayed at Centara Grand Island from January 12 to 19 2013...
This was our number 3 trip to Maldives (First was Six Senses Laamu and second was Island Hideaways) - so our review is compared to these resorts.

What can we say....once you have tried Maldives - you are so much hooked on this - and want to go back again and again... We have stayed many times all over the world where beaches also are very nice and something you would think...this is out of the world - and so nice..

BUT WHEN YOU TRY MALDIVES - nothing (so far) can compare and nothing is so wonderful as these Atolls.....

Our first trip to Maldives was Six Senses Laamu - just after opening - and we were blown away and got an experience like nothing else before...

Next was Island Hideaway (2011) where our children joined us (4 children age at that time 5,8,11,13) - and this Island was so much better in many ways that Six Senses - but also "not so good" in one way...

On our last trip we tried to stay at Centara (without children) and we have given the same 5 star review of this also... just like we gave Six Senses and Island Hideaway 5 star...

But there are of course some differences of the 3 resorts...

Centara is a wonderful place - and have the most amazing house reef ever seen ..
It is better than Island Hideaway - and it is SO MUCH MUCH better than Six Senses Laamu...(we would say - if you are into snorkeling directly from the beach or villa - and want to see many fish, nice reef - then Six Senses is NOT an option at all... - but have many other qualities)

Centara is supreme - and better than the other 2 resorts in snorkeling - and what a feeling just to go down from the steps in our Sunset Water villa and then directly to be on the reef and to see many fish and a life under water so wonderful..

So if you are to snorkeling then Centara is the choice..

Island Hidesways also have very good snorkeling - but only one side of the Island - but also really good - and the house reef here is absolutely also highly recommendable - but Centara is just a little better...

So we thought - Six Senses Laamu (first trip) that snorkeling was really good..but when we tried next trip Island Hideaway we were blown away and thought this was so much better.....and then again when trying Centara once again we were stunned and a litlle more "blown away"..

To make this long story short..

IF YOU WANT SNORKELING DIRECTLY FROM BEACH then our choice is CENTARA - followed close by Island Hideaway - but Six Senses cant at all be compared - the snorkeling there is no way in same class as the other two resort we have tried..

So far so good...

The room (Water Villa) in Centara compared to Six Senses - then SIX SENSES beat clearly the other 2 resorts.... The resort is so nice - Atmosphere is extremely relaxed and the "no shoes concept" is perfect and the restaurants quality of food is the best so far we have ever tried. Here is something to learn Centara !!!!!!!! because not to say that the food at all was bad at Centara (or Island Hideaway) - but like we have no doubt about the house reef - then we also very certain about which Island is the best in food .... SIX SENSES LAAMU...
Also the room at the Water Villa in Six Senses have so much more better material - better quality - better room layout... and better privacy..., better outside bathroom - better toilet with view through the floor to the ocean, better outside area ...and we could go on and on..

Centara have so many problems with the wood used on the jetty - all the roofs of the water villa need replacement - and even the resort is only 3 years old - it seems that it was build 10-15 years ago - when you look at the way the villas looks now... The quality of building materials is so bad at Centara - and this is such a shame...Also the air condition is very noisy at Centara and difficult to make the right temperature.. We tried - but it was either to cold or warm..

Island Hideaway have no water villas (they have 2 spa water villa placed 5 meter from beach - so in our opinion this is not real water villa) - but the Island is one of the biggest in Maldives - and therefore you have completely privacy and each beach villa have a private beach - which is so wonderful also - and the rooms are SO BIG - perfect fitting family of 6...And the outside bathroom is just a extremely nice wonderful thing. The big living room makes it perfect - and then you almost have so much private room outside the villa going directly to your own private beach... WOW...This Island is so beautiful ...

So when it comes to "villa/room"... we would say - SIX SENSES is number 1...followed very closely by Island Hideaway - and not even close is then Centara...

When it comes to food and dining - then Six Senses also number 1....Island Hideaway and Centara number 2.... and none of the resorts are bad at all.... All three deliver high quality - but Six Senses is just in another league here...(we think).

When it comes to family if you have children with you - then Island Hideaway is absolutely the best place.. We know from other reviews of Centara that loud children sometimes is an issue - we didn`t see this at all at our stay - but the Island is very small compared to Six Senses and extremely little compared to Island Hideaway.. - so if you are bringing children then we would without any doubt recommend Island Hideaway over Centara.. The pool area on Island Hideaway is also bigger - better - and more funny for children.

Service level - Here we clearly have to say... Island Hideaway because you get your own private butler, that follow you in all the meals, trips, snorkeling (If you want). First we thought this is not so nice - but in only a half day - the butler knows what is your favorite drink, coffee - medium or well done steak and so on - and the children gets to love him so easily... Also the attention and level of service is then so much better...
Six Senses also have a kind of the same level of service - they call it personal Gem...but our "GEM" was almost invisible and did not respond to our calls at all.. So in our terms then level of service is then to prefer ISLAND HIDEAWAYS "butler" service..

So.....in our mind.....
House reef - Centara 5 star - Island Hideaway 4,5 star - Six Senses Laamu 2 star
Room - Six Senses 5 star - Island Hideaway 4 star - Centara 3 star
Food - Six Senses 5 star - Centara 4 star Island Hideaway 4 star
Island - Island Hideaway 5 star - Six Senses 4 star Centara 3,5 star
Service - Island Hideaway 5 star - Six Senses 4 star Centara 3 star
Transporttime to/from Male - Centara 5 star - Six Senses 3 star - Island Hideaway 3 star


So what is our favorite place.... ?
We love snorkeling - so that means we will never choose Six Senses again - even that the room, place, view, food is absolutely wonderful... we prefer snorkeling possibility first class and this Six Senses Laamu cant provide... but if this is not an thing you need - then we could highly give Six Senses our thumbs up !!!


Centara is really nice and wonderful - and we could reconsider going back - if we were to travel alone..but.......
What we dont like is the Ultimate All Inclusive plan at Centara - not to say the food or drink is bad - but you are on a "fix plan" where all extra cost much more - and when you feel that you have paid before - then it feels difficult to "pay much more".. Also the Ultimate All inclusive plan is so stupid that if you are to choose extra - then you have to pay all extra....
Island Hideway and Six Senses meal plans is so planed that you have an amount to use and then pay extra if you want something more.. Lets say you one day would like a candlelight dinner at the beach in private - or you one day want a lobster or anything special - then you "only" pay extra at Island Hideaway and Six Senses.. but at Centara you pay full amount with no discount at all -even you then dont use your ultimate all inclusive plan... So our recommendation to Centara is - give people the choice to pay extra like other resorts instead of trying to "rip people" off when they want to try something extra on the menu.

So it is quite difficult for us to make a 100% choise - and since all people are different - then it is also quite difficult to say one is better than the other..

We think that all 3 resorts in Maldives we have tried are wonderful.. but our favorite as a couple we would say....Centara because for us snorkeling in high quality is so important - but if we next time bring Children then Island Hideaway...

BUT.....

If you could get...the quality of food and villa like Six Senses - the personal touch of service and extremely privacy from Island Hideaways combined with a house reef like Centara - then we would really have found paradise beyond this world.... Now we are "stock" with only paradise..... which are really nice also !!!

Room Tip: Our sunset water villa room 55 was directly in Sunset every night.. The rooms on the side of the jet...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank KristensenDenmark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2013

We stayed at here for 9 magical nights in January 2013. The ultimate all inclusive package is brilliant, choice of 3 restaurants included for lunch and dinner, drinks all day including a choice of around 10 different wines. 7 spa treatments available and daily trips all included in the package. The food, drink and service from this hotel was 5 star and the only reason we haven't given it a total of 5 star points is due to the ugly sea defences and pipes that run visibly thru the pure turquoise water which does somewhat detract from the beauty of this island.

We stayed in a water villa, the room was amazing with magical views across the sea. The mini bar was restocked daily and included a selection of beers, soft drinks and water. Our room was always immaculately looked after by the room boy who will also do bed decorations at evening turn down.

Our top tips

7) Take some light weight clothes to change into on arrival at male, we had a wait of nearly 2 hours for our seaplane at male. The seaplane is also very hot.

6) Take some good water shoes to wear into the sea. At low tide coral high and this protects your feet.

5) You can hire all your snorkel stuff out there at no cost under the ultimate package, so saves some room in your case.

4) Book your spa treatments on your first day, we did this and had no trouble getting treatments or times that suited.

3) Romantic beach dinner is lovely, if you have the money well worth it - you have your own private butler and chef for the evening

2) If you do have any concerns whilst on the island do bring this to the attention of the management they are more than happy to go out of their way to resolve problems. We had 1 minor problem that Doi sorted for us immediately - thank you Doi.

1) Robinson Crusoe island trip was our absolute highlight and in our opinion well worth the money.

The staff are brilliant, from the beach cleaners to the management they are all attentive but not over bearing and genuinely seem to want you to have an amazing time on their island.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
9 Thank James B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
173 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2013

After a 30mins seaplane flight from Male, to arrive at the lovely island.

Everything is provided for (ultimate-all-inclusive) and we can have all the drinks we want anytime of the day

You can never have too much of the sea and the sunshine here.
Enjoy the sunrise, sunset, star gazing everyday and night.

One point, to plan carefully for your excursions due to your limited time!
every excursions is worthed the trip, so be sure if you can squeeze in some time for every one of them! We are lucky to see dolphins during the whale-shark excursion, although we didnt manage to see the whale-shark. haha

spend most of the time in the sea, snorkelling.
Prepare your underwater cameras! Time passed too quickly for our 5 days trip.
Be sure to be well equipped with sun lotions...

We shall come back to Maldives soon.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank aychuen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dalry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2013

My wife and I stayed here in August 2012 for our honeymoon. We spent one week in a beach villa (number 43 from memory) and 1 week in a delux water villa (number 88).

We took the seaplane, which was awesome - very old school flying, and a real thrill. Take the seaplane if you can!

On arrival at 11am we were told that our room would not be ready until 2:30pm - not what you want to hear after 20 hours of travelling. We were told we could use the communal showers to freshen up, but you'll know what I mean when I say you just want to get to your room and relax.

The beach villa was nice, but by no means luxurious - maybe my expectations were just too high. You have to remember you're on an island here! The stairs are noisy as hell due to the design of the building, and you hear every step your neighbor makes. I personally found the bed very hard, and actually found myself moving to the sofa in the early morning. We didnt use the outdoor bath / shower, but not sure why - the indoor one was perfectly fine. Again, because of the design, you can hear everything your neighbor says! Beach villa 43 is I think 4 down from the watersports hut, but that wasn't a problem. Our wee stretch of beach was very quite and no-one ever stole our loungers! After walking round the island and looking at the other beach villas, we think we had the best location, as others further down have rocky bits and not much beach. The ones on the other side of the island have to contend with the delivery / maintenance / diving boats coming in and out, which is quite noisey.

When we moved to the delux water villa, things definitely improved! They were just far bigger, nicer, quieter, and gave a sense of real privacy. We had pretty much uninterrupted views, far better than most of the luxury sunset villas. Our steps dropped right into a channel between the coral, so snorkling was easy. We noted that other villas didn't have these channels, so you're pretty much going down steps onto coral.

We snorkled pretty much every day, and got to know the friendly fish, which we all named (it's the same fish every day around your villa, seriously!) - Hi Trevor, and of course, Dave the Shark!

The food was excellent, and I am a really picky eater (no veg or smelly food!). We found that we were eating 3 big meals a day needlessly, so quickly changed to either brekkie or lunch and then dinner - you really don't need any more!

The weather was fantastic all but one day, and the storm was quite something to watch.

Contrary to a lot of reports here, we found the staff to be just amazing! Our appointed waiter, Sherry, was the best - he knew what we liked to drink, and kept those glasses full. He was full of local info, and kept us clued up about the fish - "No naughty sharks here!" I think my wife had a soft spot for Sherry, as she actually shed a tear at our last dinner. We've just booked our next holiday, a self catering gig, and she told me she doesn't know what she'll do without him!

We ate mostly at Reef, but tried Lotus one night. Not really my bag, but again, I am a fussy eater.

There are two bars on the island, Coral and Aqua. Coral is where it's all happening, but if you want a quiet drink with no-one around, head to Aqua - the sunsets from here are beautiful. Again, bar staff are friendly, and hot to trott with refills. I know a lot of people have complained about the limited selection of drinks included in the all-inclusive package that was in operation at the time, but neither I or my wife found this in any way limiting.

Our room boys were friendly and attentive - Henry even made a giant flower display on our bed on the last night which said "BST OF LUCK" (no, I didn't miss the "E" - he did!) but we just loved his effort!

There is a LARGE % of Asian guests, I would say only 20% are Western, and most of those are English. It seemed there was quite a few families on the island, which was a surprise. Not an issue for us really, except for the contingent of seemingly feral english teenagers (female!) who made more noise than the rest of the island combined!

We headed off for 3 days in Dubai afterwards, which is definitely worth it, esp. if you're flying via there anyway, but take 4 or 5 days to do so.

I've never been to any other island in the Maldives so I'm afraid I'm unable to compare in any way - sorry!

Overall, a perfect honeymoon, made special by staff!

Room Tip: For sunset views, try to get a beach villa fron number 38-48, or a water villa from 81-88.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank astonlincoln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geneva, Switzerland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Maldives... a dream place that you want to get everything spot on right from the start!! After reading a couple of reviews, I decided to book my stay through Atoll Paradise (AP), local operator that completely blown me away with their 5-star customer service and more importantly with super competitive rates. It's really a tough job to choose which resort to go to as all of them look gorgeous on the internet, therefore Janice's (AP's consultant) suggestions were priceless and she promptly addressed every single question/ doubt I had in order to choose the correct resort and package. AP took care of everything for me so that I did not have to worry about any details. They greeted me at arrival, took care of seaplane transfer and handed over to me all paperwork necessary to be presented at the resort. It was a true peace of mind!!

Regarding the resort, I finally decided to book my 5-day holiday at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa. I booked a deluxe water villa with island club add-on (a resort within the resort) and my wife and I were happily surprised while checking in as we had been upgraded to the luxury sunset villa. The island is fantastic and service and activities were top notch, we really felt taken care of by all the staff. Food was also great. The island club add-on is super convenient if one wants some privacy (there's an exclusive pool and lounge for members) and more drinking options. The resort is highly recommended and we are already planning a 2nd time but now with our kids as the resort is also kids friendly.

Many thanks to Atoll Paradise and to Centara Grand Island Resort for this unforgettable experience in the Maldives!!!

Room Tip: The villa no. 70 is super recommended as you get a great view of the sunset and it's super spaci...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Philip_Geertsema
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

Having returned from Centara we were so disappointed! The points that were made by AMEES Berlin we found to be largely correct. In addition to this they had started to refurbish the walkways to the villas and we were subjected to banging and general noise of workmen all day except one. Naturally maintenance needs to take place but did not help with the enjoyment of the holiday! We simply had a letter on our bed apologising. On a recent visit to Cambodia the hotel warned us of the work and left us to decide whether to go. When we arrived they had isolated this part of the hotel. In this case all three walkways and access to the water villas had extensive work. An e mail prior to our arrival would have been polite at the least.
I was reading and contemplating snorkelling when a plank of wood with nails came floating past our villa..We were in a deluxe sunset water villa and had been recommended island club. We also found our water villa tired and disappointing with the level of maintenance required during our stay.
The all inclusive packages are a shambles as none may suit you but Centara can charge you an upgrade and try and make you happy by paying even more! All inclusive can always be a problem in the Maldives but like the review before this island allegedly had the best all inclusive. I also remember reading a review from Bruno Tonioli when the resort was at it best! Not now!
Having been to the Maldives many times no matter where you are will always have the beautiful blue waters fish reef sharks and everything that makes your trip there fantastic. It's the resort you have to get right!
We found the management condescending and not apologetic they always blamed someone else. I think they are now more interested in the Asian market. They should take more responsibility.
Due to the new ultimate package the spa was pretty much fully booked so I recommend you book as soon as you get there.
If you have never been to the Maldives before you will like it because all the islands are beautiful but don't be mislead by some of these 5 star reviews there are better places representing far better value.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank Alison g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerCIRM, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, March 29, 2013
Dear Reviewer
Thank you for staying at Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives and reviewing us on the public platform.
We have performed routine maintenance works on our jetties, however we feel that your comments about a plank of wood with nails came floating past your villa were rather exaggerated.
Thank you for your feedback, and we do hope to welcome you back in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwick, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
136 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

Excellent stay, we requested a particular room prior to arrive and the hotel had accommodated our request. Having arrived on a seaplane we were taken swiftly to reception and our room, reception staff were very helpful, informative and friendly.

We requested room 89 as this is a Deluxe Water Villa at the vey end of "pier" and not overlooked by other villas, although there is the daily groups of divers as there is a sunken ship just of the coral reef. With the exception of the divers, and therefore boats (although it does seem to be late afternoon), the view is great, prolific aquatic life, including sharks, rays, fish, eels, turtles and also dolphins.

The room, we had a small problem with the air conditioning, which to be honest wasn't causing a huge issue, but Henry who attended to the room twice a day, noticed and immediately had it resolved. Henry was very helpful throughout our stay, happy to explain things to us and made us feel very relaxed and welcome.

Room 89 is well maintained and clean. With a very large bathroom, separate double shower, two sinks, two person Jacuzzi bath and toilet, outside is a further rain shower to use getting in and out of the sea. There is a seating area, desk in the main room, with two large single beds pushed together and a mattress topper placed over the both to disguise it being two beds. Unfortunately I didn't sleep very well, however my husband did with no problems. The room has free Wi-Fi..

Outside there is a balcony with table and chairs and two sun loungers, with steps leading into the sea. Every morning we had a visit from a large Heron who sat on the steps waiting for fish to swim up... Every afternoon my husband snorkeled.....

There are three restaurants on the island and an additional in the island club, we tried the Reef restaurant on our first evening which is the main restaurant and didn't try any other, as the food was very good with different themed meals every evening, breakfast was also served here and again was always good. My husband also had lunch here some days and said this was good. Again the service from the team was excellent, in particular the waiter who was assigned to us Aru who always stopped to talk, remembered what we drank. You can dine outside at the Reef where there seems to be several large fish hanging around in the water waiting for scraps, this includes a large nurse shark.

We didn't use any other restaurant, as we didn't feel the need or want, but walked past the Thai which appeared busy every evening, at the two a la carte restaurants you do need to book.

My husband did go to use the Spa and we stepped in to take a look at the spa menu (they aren't in rooms!) and to be honest we were put off by the very pushy attendant and didn't actually have any treatments.

There is a small shop on the island, which caters for souvenirs, ornaments, gifts, a small medical cabinet with sun creams etc. and some clothing, flip flops and under water disposable cameras.

The hotel does offer romantic meals on the beach and the setting looked fantastic (this is at an additional cost), we would have done this, however most evenings we had the most spectacular thunderstorms (and rain) so we couldn't really sit out. Although, during sunlight hours, the days were all really dry and sunny.

We didn't really spend much time drinking, however all brands seem to be on offer and once again the team were very attentive and friendly.

Word of advice, the hotel information states you should consider using factor 30 sunscreen, I would recommend you do, I burnt quite badly on one leg, I use factor 15 on all holidays and never seem to burn, not the case this time..

I would definitely recommend this hotel, particularly the Deluxe Water Villas.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Kyla64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Property: Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Address: South Ari Atoll
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll > Centara Grand Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Centara Grand Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by a stunning house reef that is a kaleidoscope of colour for snorkellers, and distinctive with its timbered walkways and colonial-style buildings, the five-star Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is a barefoot paradise. With the Ultimate All-Inclusive concept, your stay is absolutely carefree meaning that all meals, spa treatments, activities and water sports, daily excursions, and even diving are all included. Weatherboard villas, thatched-roof buildings, a white-sand beach and sparkling lagoon are the setting for your honeymoon or fun-filled family holiday. Villas and beach suites are generously-sized (86-159 square metres); the over-water villas enjoy their own sundeck with steps down to the multihued coral reefs. Special villas for families have bunk beds in a children’s area, and you can also enjoy the option of an overwater villa with plunge pool. When it comes to dining, all your meals – and more – are included. Sumptuous champagne breakfasts are available at Reef Restaurant, lunches and dinners are to be enjoyed at the Azurri Mare Italian Restaurant, the Suan Bua Thai restaurant or Reef Restaurant. There are two bars on the island. Voted as Maldives’ most family-friendly resort two years in succession, the island has the ideal family itinerary: activities at the age-specific kids’ clubs, water activities like banana boat and tube rides, water sports, and pool games by thea children’s pool. Anyone in need of some deep relaxation can enjoy the daily spa treatments at Spa Cenvaree, yoga sessions, or simply laze beachside. Beside water sports and one of the best PADI dive centres in the Maldives, the resort’s house reef and lagoon provide fascination for snorkellers, and just off the reef there is a dedicated shipwreck that offers easy diving and a close-up view of turtles and whale sharks, manta rays, and surgeonfish. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Grand Island Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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